Nevonga accused of manipulating NapwuBy: CATHERINE SAMAN
WITH the Namibia Public Workers’ Union (Napwu) congress drawing near, accusations are once again emerging that the union’s general secretary, Petrus Nevonga, through machinations has swung the congress representation in his favour while deliberate actions were taken to get rid of “problem people” who are in the habit of independent thinking.
Speculation is also rife that the vexing matter of the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) Development Capital Portfolio (DCP) defaulted millions will not make it to the congress agenda, as was expected and hoped for in some circles that want a satisfactory conclusion to the matter.
“The GIPF issue in Napwu is a sin; you cannot talk about it,” a source preferring anonymity said. The congress is scheduled to take place from September 11 to 15 – or according to a rumour, might continue until September 16 – at Rundu with about 300 representatives expected.
“It is clear that there are games being played; what is coming out very clearly is that the anti-Nevonga people are being excluded,” the source said last week.
Nevonga earlier had been accused of trying to meddle with the congress representation after he had written a letter on May 30 to regional chairpersons and regional coordinators with instructions that the regions should nominate candidates for the top portfolios of the union. The more outspoken union members said this went against the grain of the Napwu constitution, which stipulates that candidates for these positions must be nominated and elected at the congress.
Nevonga has reportedly also sent out a delegation to the regions to campaign for him. Nevonga at the time said he had sent out people to the regions as the union had an obligation to communicate with union members. Nevonga declined to comment on the preparations for the congress, saying that union members would be informed through the union structures.
The last Central Executive Committee decided that no union leader, other than Nevonga, was allowed to speak to the media about the congress. Any one found guilty of that would be barred from the congress.
In an attempt to silence the GIPF matter, Nevonga’s delegation has allegedly been telling union members in the regions that they have been misinformed. When pressed to explain what they meant, they reportedly could not provide answers.
Closer to the congress, sources say regional executive committees instead of regional conferences have drawn up lists of names of people for the top portfolios.
The names so far emerging for the top positions are Sarafina Kandere (to retain her position as president), Evans Mashwahu (as first president), Ernst Pienaar (second president), Hilde !Noreses (treasurer), Nevonga and Gabes Andumba to retain their positions of general secretary and deputy general secretary.
An obvious omission from this list is second deputy president Moses Ikanga, who was outspoken on the GIPF saga, a matter that has reportedly brought him in disfavour with the Napwu leadership, and Nevonga in particular.
The sources said there is a fierce push from the Nevonga group to have these names endorsed from the regions.
“The leadership do not know their own procedures as stipulated in the constitution. They keep endorsing these names. All they are doing are to rubber-stamp Nevonga’s decisions. These names have not been elected but are nominated from the head office. Critical people are being excluded from this new list of leadership,” one source said.
The source went on to say that branch organisers are being used to sideline the critical voices within the union “working tirelessly to eliminate the people”.